10 May 2007
For 3 weeks Opua marina car park has been filling with increasingly agitated conversations in English of many accents, German, French, Norwegan. Boat children of several nationalities have been running amok on their pedal scooters. Cruising sailors gather here in Opua (a small town in The Bay Of Islands & the most northerly New Zealand port of entry/exit) before their crossing back to the South Pacific Islands. Last Saturday, Bob McDavitt from the NZ Met. Office gave a talk in the Opua Cruising Club and announced that the tropical cyclone season "is now over". Furthermore, the low which cleared the country mid week was forecast to produced southerlies for 2 or 3 days, and between Thursday, Friday, and Saturday about 50 boat crews obediently droppped lines and sailed north. Now the marina is peaceful. Harmonica sits quietly at her dock, low on top as her mast is resting on saw horses being rebuilt & repainted after its 10 year check. Once 2 new stays are ready, that should be ready to go back in next week and we hope to sail to Fiji soon afterwards. Dave learned that working on a 60 ft mast gives plenty of excercise as the tool that is needed or the line to pull is invariably at the other end or other side. However, part of the fun of sailing for us is learning new skills, and that has been achieved. We have done more work to the boat here than anywhere else since leaving Vancouver Island 7 years ago. Dave has been back on board since March, and Jan timed her flight across the date line to miss May Day and arrive from Canada on 2nd May. While Harmonica was completing her maintenance, Jan completed the dental work she wanted done. However, meantime she broke her wrist while skiing at Lake Louise and arrived in New Zealand wearing a red cast. She found an electronic piano taking up most of the cabin table when she arrived. Dave had been spending his evenings with head phones on,locked in a world of his own with grade 4 piano pieces. Our stay in New Zealnad has been enjoyable. We would recommend it for any cruising sailors. It was worthwhile taking Harmonica south as far as Tauranga in the Bay of Penty, which is supposed to be the driest place in a generally wet & fertile country. However, it is now time to leave, and anyway NZ customs has only given until the end of May to keep Harmonica here without duty. Next letter should be from Fiji.
Jan, Dave & Harmonica